Downstage closure - 'absolutely wicked'
Wellington's theatre community is reeling from the news that Downstage Theatre will close at the end of the current show.
Creative New Zealand is refusing to fund it any further.
Theatre critic and managing editor of performing arts Theatreview web site, John Smythe, says it’s “absolutely wicked”.
Mr Smythe says Downstage was a place where designers, actors, and other theatre practitioners graduated to.
He predicts an exodus of theatre people to other centres including Auckland.
“They can’t all go to the other theatre, Circa. And while Bats Theatre is a great training ground you can’t make a living out of putting on performances there.
“Creative New Zealand owes Wellington and New Zealand an explanation.”
Mr Smythe says other groups may use the theatre at 12 Cambridge Tce such as a Maori and Pacifica group or possibly a youth theatre group forced out of its premises in Civic Square due to earthquake strengthening requirements.
“I’ve been writing the history of Downstage for the past 40 years. It was going to be their 50th anniversary next year so for this to happen. We’re all like stunned mullets right now,” Mr Smythe says.
He understands it is owned by Hannah’s Playhouse Trust although funding has been provided by the Wellington City Council.